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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Kenwood TM-281A Help

Reviews Summary for Kenwood TM-281A
Kenwood TM-281A Reviews: 48 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $174.95
Description: 2 meter FM mobile transceiver providing 65 watts of power
Product is in production.
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WB4QNG Rating: 4/5 Jul 23, 2014 21:12 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Great radio. Bought it to replace an Icom V8000 that bit the dust. While the 8000 had a few features I like better it isn't worth the extra $70. The good the 65 watts is more than adequate. It is easy to program without the cable. The front firing speaker is great. Is has a fast scan rate. The not so good. You have to program all the settings for either 65 or 25 watts but you can program a button on your mic to switch between the two. Not bad. Next is the menu driven squelch would rather have a knob but I set mine at one and it works fine. Easy to change sittings. The reason I gave it a four rather than a five is because the radio needs a lower watt setting. It seems a shame to have to transmit 25 watts to hit a repeater I can hit with one watt with my HT. I would highly recommend the radio
N0UY Rating: 4/5 Jul 18, 2014 18:17 Send this review to a friend
Keeper  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this radio used for use in the shack. The display is easy to read from a distance. The speaker is loud and clear. The menu system is quick to get on to but I agree that the squelch is a little unhandy being menu driven. Great audio reports from a larg mic. With the buttons on the front I do not accidently hit them while speaking into the mic like I did when they are on the back. The only thing that I would like that this unit doesn't due for me in the shack is to be able to save a specific power output setting for each memory stored. You either get them all on High or Low when it's obvious that distant and local repeaters don't require the same setting. Thats the only reason I didn't give it a 5 rating.
N4GKS Rating: 5/5 Jul 1, 2014 12:29 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I like the small case and I'm going to use this rig for my go box. Large heat sink and large mic with lighted buttons. Easy to program so the software isn't necessarily needed unless you have many repeaters to program. I may buy another for my vehicle.
AC3RK Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2014 08:28 Send this review to a friend
Great bang for the bucks  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have owned Icom, Yaesu, and Kenwood V/U transceivers over my 40+ years operating and have found this a great value. My TM-281A at the house is hooked to either an Elk 2M/440L5 or Arrow OSJ 146/440 antenna depending on operational needs. If I have radio line-of-sight to a repeater or simplex station, we can work. The menu system took some getting used to, but through reading the clear manual, I hardly have to bring the book out any more. The heat sink in the back gets warm under multiple hours of heavy operations at high power; but output is not affected. Front speaker is loud and clear. I have not used it mobile so cannot speak to that usage, but have no reason to expect anything less than superior performance. At this price, I could not have asked for anything more.
W5BXY Rating: 5/5 May 14, 2014 08:45 Send this review to a friend
Good Radio for the price  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought one of these about 8 mos ago to use on base connected to a Diamond F23 vertical which I would also recommend. This is my first Kenwood VHF radio although I have used Kenwood’s exclusively on HF for years and love them. So far the radio has worked perfectly, easy to program and I have no complaints other than I personally do not like a menu driven squelch which is very unhandy for mobile use. I’ve had good signal reports and the receiver is very sensitive with a good antenna attached. I plan to buy another one to install in my car. In spite of the menu driven squelch I have to give it a 5 all the way. For the price you can’t beat it.
W5GSR Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2014 19:38 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I put this radio in my 2002 Toyota tundra and so far it's a great little radio. Most of the time I just use low power and I can hit the repeaters that I need to in my area, and that's with a quarter wave on the roof.
KC3BKG Rating: 5/5 Mar 29, 2014 15:48 Send this review to a friend
Nice basic 2m mobile  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Very nice little mobile. Installed in my company truck and even in the noisy environment of a “work” truck I have no problem hearing with the front firing speaker. Kind of thought not having a lower transmit power setting was odd but I operate mostly simplex in my travels so 25 Watts for low power is fine. Very easy to program and operate but the squelch adjustment takes a little getting use to being a menu setting and not a knob like I’m use to. All in all great little mobile.
WD8DK Rating: 5/5 Mar 26, 2014 11:29 Send this review to a friend
Good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Have no major complaints about rig. One thing Kenwood should have done is give a 5 watt setting along with the 25 and 65 watts.
AE9C Rating: 5/5 Mar 16, 2014 16:11 Send this review to a friend
GREAT 2m.RADIO !!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
KF7IKS Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2013 02:14 Send this review to a friend
Up to SNUFF  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got my 281 Kenwood a couple days ago and it works great. Our town as another Ham guy told me is in a ditch and it really is. I have had an HT 5W but had a lot of trouble getting ANYWHERE. After receiving the Kenwood, I am now easily hitting Repeaters in Indianapolis which is 40 to 50 miles away and have no doubt it will go even further, not bad for a 65W radio. If I can program it any dummy can do it. It's very portable easy to hook up to a power source, I have mine on a Marine Battery on the floor of my Pathfinder, so I do not have to worry about automotive battery drain or even lightening strikes, though I have never been hit by lightning. All I can say is, Good Job Kenwood
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